New Voting Commission Is Pretext for Voter Suppression and Discrimination

Civil Rights Groups Raise Major Concerns With Announcement of Election Integrity Commission
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, DC – Today the president issued an executive order to create a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. The commission is expected to study "vulnerabilities" in U.S. voting systems, but an administration official stated it would also look into potential issues of "improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting" – claims that previous studies have proven to be unfounded.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, issued the following statement about this latest executive order.

“Advancing Justice has significant concerns that the desire to ‘study vulnerabilities’ is pretext for finding ways to intimidate and suppress voting in communities of color, particularly among Asian American, African American, and Latino voters. Asian American voters have often been discriminated against for being seen as ‘perpetual foreigners,’ and have additional hurdles to reaching the ballot box, such as being asked for additional proof of citizenship or being denied language assistance.

Given the president’s previously false claims of widespread voter fraud, his attempts to deflect investigation into the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and his focus on losing the popular vote, we believe this commission to be nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to curtail drastically the legitimate voting rights of Americans. A commission created on a false premise can only have a pre-determined negative outcome and be yet another waste of taxpayer resources.

Making this charade even worse is the expected naming of Kris Kobach as the Vice Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. Kobach’s record when it comes to voting rights and other civil rights issues is exceptionally troubling. His most notable actions in government have been to disenfranchise communities of color, including naturalized citizens. His numerous voter suppression schemes have been struck down by the courts. Since the election, he has erroneously repeated Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

If the administration really wants to work on improving the voting system for the American people, it should start with the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act. The commission should also study the number of eligible voters kept from casting their rightful ballot because of voter ID laws, rollbacks on early voting, and other laws passed since the Voting Rights Act was decimated. Voter suppression is the real threat to democracy and future elections.”